7 Mar 2014

Speedmonkey Goes To The Geneva Motor Show (And Man Of The Show Award)

I've just flown back from two days in Geneva. But it wasn't all spent at the motor show

Volvo at Geneva Motor Show

I went to Geneva as a guest of Castrol.  I met, at Heathrow on Wednesday morning, with the Castrol team and bloggers Oliver Bock-Brown of oversteer.org.uk and Vince Pettit of TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk.

Castrol has a new product out soon called Edge Titanium FST which was ultimately the reason for our trip.  After we touched down in Geneva we checked into a rather swanky hotel, took in some very late lunch and went for a stroll along the shores of Lake Geneva which laps right up to Geneva itself.

The evening of the first day saw a trip down to the CERN Globe for the Castrol presentation.  It was part of a week of presentations to worldwide media to prepare us for the full launch of the new product this summer.  It also introduced us to something called the Titanium Trials.
The CERN globe

The first of these trials is called Titanium Strong Blackout.  The information provided on the night was scarce but it involves professional racing drivers driving in the dark around a barely lit course and will take place in late spring.

After the presentation I was still none the wiser really but when I heard about second trial, which I was told about in full (in confidence so I'm not going to repeat it here) I was pretty excited.  That promises to be a true test of man and speed.  Watch this space.

The second day was a trip to the Geneva Motor Show.  The show sees most manufacturers displaying their latest machinery in a series of vast halls.  Geneva is quite small so the centre of the city, where we stayed, is only a short shuttle hop to the exhibition centre, which itself is next door to the airport.

It's rather odd walking round a hall full of cars with not one engine being started.  In that regard the motor show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a more involving spectacle for the average petrolhead.

Notwithstanding that the manufacturers take the Geneva Motor Show very seriously.  They all spend a fortune on their stands and many display their latest models or concepts for the first time either in Europe or the world.

The Germans all had huge, shiny stands, Renault had a rather funky display, with Twingos displayed on little revolving hillocks, Volvo built a uniquely Swedish display of coolness and Ferrari had a small display with just a few cars, but it attracted the largest crowds.

Over the course of the next week I'll focus on some cars and manufacturers and let you know what I think were the most important cars at Geneva.

I'll end with the Speedmonkey man of Geneva award which goes to James Gilbert of Morgan.  James is a salesman, their digital dude (i.e. he's behind the Twitter and Facebook accounts), media co-ordinator (he showed me around there factory two weeks ago) and a host on the Morgan stand.

Whilst all other manufacturer PR teams had gone home (I went on the first public day) James was there pressing the flesh and flogging Morgans.  The vast majority of Morgan sales are made out of the UK so James' time in Geneva is taken up from early in the morning to late in the evening glad handing rich looking European gentlemen, answering their questions and placing their orders.

Well done James!
Morgan Motors at the Geneva Motor Show
James, on the left 

By Matt Hubbard